Hate crimes

Is there any reason the U.S. House and Senate Republican leadership’s treatment of President Obama should not be considered a hate crime?
The good ol’ white boys who control the GOP in Washington have done their best to thwart Obama at every turn during the president’s term. And they have declared their primary focus to be to ensure that Obama is not re-elected – the economy can flounder, the debt crisis fester, an injuriously unfair tax structure remain in place to the detriment of the country’s future, and health care costs soar. But their actions continue to target the president.
They remind me of the gang of white teenagers who recently waylaid a black man in Mississippi and beat him to death, chanting “White power!” as they kicked him senseless and then drove a truck over his body.
At times the GOP leadership’s response to Obama’s reasonable actions resembles such a mugging. Nothing Obama can do or say is acceptable to those who call themselves leaders. The GOP archons have even refused to agree to proposals that they initially made weeks before the president comes around to their side.
So why is Obama such a target for these disrespectful white men? Can it be that they refuse to allow a black man to tell them what to do? When a president asks to address Congress on an important issue, even the opposition during the time of Bill Clinton was respectful enough to acquiesce to the request. But Obama’s desire to address congress on a job-creation initiative was rudely rebuffed by the Speaker of the House, rebuffed on no better grounds than that Congress didn’t have the time.
I’m afraid that some powerful white folks in our country are not ready to take direction from a black man. And that’s a shame, because President Obama certainly has better ideas than what is coming out of the GOP leadership for setting the nation on a better course. If Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Eric Cantor would spend half as much time working to steer the nation on a better course than they spend trying to thwart Obama at every turn, we might just make some meaningful progress.
Little did I suspect as I celebrated Obama’s historic election to the highest office in the land that a bunch of elected white bigots would dedicate their energy and time to tearing him down – to the detriment of us all.
–Don Evans

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  1. Terri Buckner

     /  September 8, 2011

    Good post, Don. I had those same thoughts last night as I listened to the Repub candidates debate. Several years ago there was a panel discussion in Carrboro about the book Blood Done Sign My Name. Toward the end of the night, a young black teenager stood up and told the audience that racism today is nothing like the time in that book. He said today racism occurs in such subtle ways that there are no specific actions, like the brutality of Jim Crow, that can be pointed to as obvious examples making it harder to fight. Institutionalized racism is front and center in Congress and on last night’s stage. It requires those who object to stand up and speak out. Thank you for doing so.

  2. George C

     /  September 8, 2011

    Don, I don’t agree with a lot of your posts but I agree with Terri’s take on this one – good post!

  3. John Kramer

     /  September 8, 2011

    Very interesting, I never knew the mess we are in was all Bush’s fault (and his party’s). Thanks so much for enlightening me- I never would have guessed.

  4. Andy

     /  September 8, 2011

    Of course, when everything else fails it’s racism. Give me a break. Dissent was patriotic but disagreeing with the Mesiah is racism. Get a new appreciation for the “How’s that hopey changey working for yah?!”

  5. Don Evans

     /  September 8, 2011


    Check your chronology — it started out as racism, then everything failed. And “hopey changey” was doing just fine until the GOP leadership decided to block it at every step.


    Just mostly Bush’s fault. After all, he’s the one who put up the initial $750 billion to bail out Wall Street and the banks.

  6. WJW

     /  September 8, 2011

    You’re trying to play the race card, really? Don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this sorry attempt at trying to silence the opposition.

    So the Republican House leadership should be arrested for disagreeing with the President. Since they disagree with Harry Reid, should they be arrested as well?
    What about the average citizen if they disagreed with the President, would that be a “hate crime” as well?

    Could you answer how many years in prison should the House leadership get? You brought in the absolute silliness of the “hate crime”, have the courage of your convictions and say how long the Speaker of the House should go to prison? If you respond at all to this comment, please let us all know how long the Speaker should go to prison.

    Would that include a re-education camp and a psychiatric evaluation?

    In your mind disagreeing with the President is the equivalent of brutally murdering a human being. I do not understand how a person can equate these two things. Have you no perspective at all? Are you so consumed by hate for your political opponents that it completely warps your judgment?

  7. Chris Jones

     /  September 8, 2011

    Don – this is irresponsible. You have absolutely no evidence, even circumstantial, to suggest that racism plays any role in the GOP’s admonishments of the President. I would in fact, counter, that the present day tenor greatly resembles Democratic congressional tone and statements when dealing with former President Bush. You’re creating a mountain out of not even a mole hill, but rather flat land.

    I would opine, instead, that you are seeing the inability of this country, from the top down to the bloggers, to have rational and constructive conversations. Instead, everyone is constantly on the attack, and facts are irrelevant when compared to people’s long-standing, emotion-laden and often misinformed opinions.

    In fact, I would like to correct one of your misinformed opinions: while the previous administration did very little to nothing to prevent the current economic downturn, your statement that it is “Just mostly Bush’s fault. After all, he’s the one who put up the initial $750 billion to bail out Wall Street and the banks” is inaccurate and a red herring. It was the House of Representatives and US Senate that approved the Treasury Asset Repurchase Program, from a bill introduced by the United States Treasury and Federal Reserve (not the President). Additionally, of that “$750 million”, only $245MM was distributed to banks and financial institutions, of which $243MM has been paid back (including interest and dividends). Finally, another $165MM was disbursed from TARP into a “host of other programs, including rescues of General Motors and Chrysler” (LA Times, 2/2/2011) — initiatives undertaken by President Obama’s administration. Finally, in the same LA Times article, “only $410MM of the original $700MM” has actually been distributed.

  8. Terri Buckner

     /  September 8, 2011

    “You have absolutely no evidence, even circumstantial, to suggest that racism plays any role in the GOP’s admonishments of the President.” And that’s the problem with institutionalized racism. You can’t point to concrete actions or statements. It’s a pattern of behavior. In this case, the ferocity of the opposition to anything proposed or said by Obama is over the top. Since the election, Mitch McConnell’s whole purpose is to get Obama out of office. That’s not electoral competition. The language used by the Republican candidates in their debates and in press interviews is not typical electoral competition. There is an edge and underlying meanness to it that turns my stomach.

    Obama offers concessions (such as revising the tax code, $4.5B in budget cuts, tort reform) that have been mainstays of the Republican opposition for decades, and suddenly they don’t want those changes. They don’t want anything from Obama. It could be purely partisanship as you say, Chris. That’s what I used to think. But it’s become too ferocious, too all encompassing, too contradictory. It feels like the remnants of Jim Crow that many of us recall and fear.

  9. John Kramer

     /  September 8, 2011

    Right, Terri, it IS over the top. As was the Democrat’s demonization of George Bush. It is very convenient to forget that, but it was just as vehement, some of the bumper stickers the local lib-ians sported were disgusting.

    I think it must all have been because he was white. Or maybe he was being persecuted because he was Christian. Of course, it had nothing to do with his politics. Pffffft.

  10. Chris Jones

     /  September 8, 2011

    Since I can’t edit my previous comment, I need to make a correction . . . I got sloppy in my writing; please substitute “billion” for “million” in all TARP references.

    Terri – Thank you for a reasonable, and well thought out response. I would like to reply, and then I would like to politely excuse myself from the “racism” conversation, as I believe it is a ludicrous accusation and does not warrant any more attention from me.

    Terri, I passionately believe it is partisanship. “They” DO want something from Obama . . . “they” want him to lose in November.
    Just like Pelosi, Reid, etc. didn’t want anything from Bush other than for the GOP to lose in November.
    The paralysis in this country is directly attributable to the incompetence of our leadership. Please note – I question the competence of leadership – – – not the individual capabilities of any individuals, but, rather, the collective (in)action of the entire sorry lot. While this country flounders in the midst of two declared combat actions, one undeclared/unacknowledged military interaction, a global recession, a broken economy, and what is, today, at least, a reasonably uncertain, if not bleak, future, our representation refuses to work together to solve issues like a debt ceiling. When TARP failed the first time, it came back to vote 3 days later, and passed . . . but only with the addition f tax breaks for arrow companies and other assorted, inane amendments. Candidates spend two years wooing the public in a run to be elected, so they can fulfill their role of . . . running for re-election. They are aided and abetted by a broken media system that reports in sound bites geared towards the lowest common denominator, with no regard for such niceties as, oh, I don’t know, fact-checking. The professional politician is rewarded by re-election not by solving issues, but by demeaning the opposition.
    In short . . . . you perceive racism. I perceive jack-assed-ness. Maybe it’s just tomato, to-mah-to. But I refuse to believe racism, if for no other reason than I refuse to allow a “victim” card to be played for President Obama, as he is just as complicit in his failings as the rest of the sorry lot – – red, blue, black, white, whatever.

  11. Terri Buckner

     /  September 8, 2011

    I really appreciate your thoughts Chris. We agree on more than we disagree about.

  12. It is certainly true that there are legitimate reasons to oppose Obama’s policies. It is also highly unlikely that a country with a region that institutionalized apartheid policies thru the 1970s, would suddenly embrace universal brotherhood. Just last week I was in good old boy country (Seagrove, NC), and was regaled with a joke about Mt Rushmore and 30 tons of black coal. Told in front of a huge Confederate flag, this rather innocuous joke took on a more sinister edge. Republican leaders may not be racist, but they are very aware of the emotions they stir among the rabble below with their talk of taking the country back from the strange “un-American” turn it has taken.

  13. Scott Maitland

     /  September 10, 2011

    This is a ridiculous post. I read this blog because it typically avoids ad hominem attacks and ridiculous conspiracy theories. Maybe a year’s worth of such inane blabbering is contained in this post and we can get back to discussing issues in a real way.

    First of all, the Obama administration got a lot of their policies passed: Obamacare, Stimulus and QE2. So so much for the idea that Republicans have stopped everything from happening under Obama’s watch. As a registered Democrat and a voter for Obama, I can still admit that the Keynsenian Experiment has failed. It is time for all of us to understand that. If you don’t understand this, I will claim my ability to state this unequivocally by simply saying that I personally created more jobs in August than the Obama administration did and I would create more if 1) I knew what my liabilities to hire somebody will be when Obamacare kicks in ; 2) How to do my risk/reward analysis when tax rates would be raised enormously if the Obama administration had its way.

    Secondly, Obama speaking in front of the congress has as much to do about checking an Imperial Presidency than it does anything else. Something we democrats forget unless their is a Republican in the White House is that the branches of government are equal and serve an important role in how our Democratic Republic functions by providing checks and balances. An imperial president seemed to be a bad thing for us when Bush was in the White House. Why does this change now simply because our Democrat is in the White House? The President can’t declare he is going to speak in front of Congress. Congress needs to invite him. If the Obama administration is too stupid or arrogant or incompetent enough to not understand this and make this happen, then they should be blamed for their amateurish and ham-handed performance. It is not a racial conspiracy. It is respect to an equal branch of the government.

    Truly this post is one of the worst pieces of political commentary I have seen in a long time. I expect better, our community deserves better.

  14. Terri Buckner

     /  September 10, 2011

    “This is a ridiculous post. I read this blog because it typically avoids ad hominem attacks and ridiculous conspiracy theories.”

    Nice–you like the avoidance of ad hominem attacks so much that you use them yourself. Why is it necessary to label that which you disagree with as ‘ridiculous’ or ‘worse pieces of political commentary’? Just because you disagree with someone’s opinion doesn’t make them wrong or ridiculous. It just means you have different opinions.

  15. John Kramer

     /  September 11, 2011

    Well said, Mr. Maitland.

  16. Leroy towns

     /  September 11, 2011

    Don, your diatribe is not very useful in an otherwise fine blog on Chapel Hill government and politics.

  17. Scott Maitland

     /  September 13, 2011

    Terri – Apparently our definition of Ad Hominem is different. Ad Hominem attacks are attacks that demean a position or argument by bringing in a personal characteristic of the person. Simply declaring something ridiculous because I disagree with it is not an ad hominem attack.

    For example, the following is an ad hominem attack: “Terri’s posts on these blogs typically do not advance the discussion because she demonstrates a complete lack of knowledge of philosophy except for relativism.”

    Interestingly, observers as early as Plato agree that ad hominem attacks, while still a lower level of argument, are not always wrong . 😉

  18. Terri Buckner

     /  September 16, 2011

    Scott, by my standards, calling Don’s post “inane blabbering” is a personal attack. I think most people would consider it personal, but I’m 100% any professional writer would.